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Hispanic Health News

U.S. Teenage Birth Rate Resumes Decline

U.S. Teenage Birth Rate Resumes Decline

Photo: Pregnant Teen

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To read the entire study click here.

The Study’s Key Findings

  * The teenage birth rate declined 8 percent in the United States from 2007 through 2009, reaching a historic low at 39.1 births per 1,000 teens aged 15-19 years.
  * Rates fell significantly for teenagers in all age groups and for all racial and ethnic groups.
  * Teenage birth rates for each age group and for nearly all race and Hispanic origin groups in 2009 were at the lowest levels ever reported in the United States.
  * Birth rates for teens aged 15-17 dropped in 31 states from 2007 through 2009; rates for older teenagers aged 18-19 declined significantly in 45 states during this period.

Teenage childbearing has been the subject of long-standing concern among the public and policy makers. Teenagers who give birth are much more likely to deliver a low birthweight or preterm infant than older women (1,2), and their babies are at elevated risk of dying in infancy (3). The annual public costs associated with teen childbearing have been estimated at $9.1 billion (4). The U.S. teen birth rate fell by more than one-third from 1991 through 2005, but then increased by 5 percent over two consecutive years. Data for 2008 and 2009, however, indicate that the long-term downward trend has resumed (1,5). Although the recent declines have been widespread by age, race and ethnicity, and state, large disparities nevertheless persist in these characteristics (6,7). The most current data available from the National Vital Statistics System are used to illustrate trends and variations through 2009.